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The Columbus Food Truck Cookbook

The Columbus Food Truck Cookbook

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The Columbus Food Truck Cookbook

248 pages
3 heures
May 2, 2016


Every food truck in Columbus has a story. Jim Pashovich, godfather of the local scene, honors his Macedonian heritage with his fleet of Pitabilities trucks. After working as a New York City line cook, Catie Randazzo returned to Columbus to open Challah! and wow the hometown crowd with her reimagined Jewish comfort food. Chef Tony Layne of Por'Ketta serves up rotisserie-style porcine fare in his tin-roofed truck. Established favorites like Paddy Wagon and Explorers Club pair with the city's best nightlife venues and breweries to extend their offerings at permanent pop-up kitchens. With insider interviews and over thirty recipes, food authors Tiffany Harelik and Renee Casteel Cook chew their way through the thriving food truck scene of Columbus.
May 2, 2016

À propos de l'auteur

Renee Casteel Cook is a freelance writer living in Columbus, Ohio. She regularly contributes to Columbus Crave, the food-focused sister magazine to Columbus Monthly. Follow her online at www.reneecasteelcook.com Tiffany Harelik's first venture into cookbook writing began in 2007 as she worked to preserve family recipes. She is a Texas native and author of The Trailer Food Diaries Cookbook Series, The Big Bend Cookbook, The Terlingua Chili Cookbook and has several more titles in the works. Follow her online at: www.tiffanyharelik.com

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The Columbus Food Truck Cookbook - Renee Casteel Cook



Renee Casteel Cook

It often surprises people to learn that Columbus—a midwestern city, state capital and college town at its heart—is not only home to great football but also boasts best-in-class medical facilities, over twenty Fortune 500 to 1,000 companies, the top-ranked zoo in the country and, for our purposes, an ever-growing, changing and inspiring food scene, evidenced in part by the growth in the food truck community in recent years.

Columbus’s diversity (over 109 languages are represented in the city’s schools) lends itself well to truck owners who are looking to bring their twist on a variety of cuisines to the eager and adventurous palates of the community. Over the last five years, Columbus has seen its food truck scene grow exponentially, from permanent side-of-the-road taco shacks to highly stylized trucks custom built to meet hungry customers closer to ground level. Whether a cart or an actual truck, each has its individual personality, shown through both the design and the dishes.

Taking notice of the growing scene, the team at Columbus Commons—a new downtown outdoor event venue—decided to bring the efforts of this diverse group together in the first annual Columbus Food Truck Festival (CFTF). Though the event was planned in less than a month and they had to corral all twenty-three trucks then in the city, lead organizer Mike Gallicchio, promoter Chaz Kaplan and the Commons team were pleasantly surprised by the turnout of ten thousand hungry consumers. They nearly shut down the neighboring area and caused sellouts at the festival, spilling over into nearby restaurants.

Columbus Skyline. Photo credit: OSP Images.

Columbus scene. Photo credit Topiary Garden.

The next few years saw improvements in organization and added trucks as they entered the market to help meet demand. By the fourth year, the group knew what to expect, as it had created the veritable foodie event of the summer, with over forty thousand attending the two-day event.

Celebrating its fifth anniversary in 2015, the now three-day gathering has grown to highlight over seventy of the city’s best trucks. Held annually on the second weekend in August, the festival welcomes trucks from around the state, including Cleveland, Cincinnati, Dayton and Athens, and attracts visitors from other markets while giving Columbus residents a chance to sample new offerings.

In the past five years, Gallicchio has seen firsthand the growth in not only number but also offerings and has a pulse on what Columbus wants from its food trucks. We’ve always had taco trucks, but they weren’t as much [a] part of the community until food trucks became popular, and CFTF provided a linkage for those individual vendors, he said. The stalwarts of the group, trucks like Pitabilities, Juniors Tacos and Paddy Wagon, have been in the market a long time. They understand the business and are constantly looking to up their game, become better businesses and put out a better product. Some have even grown to multiple-truck operations.

Gallicchio and team were somewhat outsiders until this year. They did not actually own a truck until the spring of 2015 launch of Bacon the Food Cart. Wanting to be part of the community and having insider access to events combined with a newfound perspective for what other trucks have gone through—and most importantly, an undying love of all things bacon—Gallicchio and team got in the game themselves, adding to the diverse landscape of Columbus’s mobile delicacies.

Columbus Food Truck Festival. Photo credit David Heasley.

Columbus Food Truck Festival. Photo credit David Heasley.

In this way, new trucks are continually popping up, influenced in part by the great work of both the Food Fort and the Commissary. The Food Fort, a subset of the Economic & Community Development Institute (ECDI), was founded in 2011 as a dedicated resource for food-based small business development and has grown to include prep and storage space, cleanup facilities and a commercial kitchen and bakery that supports both new and existing food-based businesses. The Commissary was founded in 2014 through both private funding and a Kickstarter campaign that instantly involved the surrounding community. Through these efforts, they built out the large-scale space to house working areas for trucks, as well as event space to host pop-up dinners, cooking classes and competitions. The Commissary continues to expand, with plans to add a commercial coffee-roasting facility and brewery, all open to the public and in support of the goals and passions of the group of chefs and community members who make the space truly a communal kitchen and gathering place.

As the culture has expanded, so have the options and resources to help track down a truck. The Central Ohio Food Truck Association recently developed and launched the mobile app Street Food Finder, which uses a geo-locator function to provide a user with a list of nearby trucks based on his or her current location and also allows participating trucks to update their planned locations in the future. Columbus supports its food truck culture through citywide programs to identify designated truck parking areas—key during high-traffic times. The program allows truck operators to sign up in advance and communicate their locations to the hungry masses. Additionally, many food trucks have taken up semi-permanent locations, with weekly appearances at event venues, breweries and corporate partners (skip the brown bag lunch that day!). Private rental of favorite trucks for events, including weddings, has gained great popularity as well—definitely an upgrade from the typical banquet food or a great choice for a surprising farewell snack at the end of a great party.

Columbus Blue Jackets Hockey. Photo credit Nationwide Realty Investors;

Ohio Stadium. Photo credit The Ohio State University.

Photos by Catherine Murray, www.hotokitchen.net.

Photos by Catherine Murray, www.hotokitchen.net.

While this book aims to feature some of the best offerings in the Columbus market, it’s by no means exhaustive, and we encourage you to continue to explore via established, credible resources, including streeteatscolumbus.com and tacotruckscolumbus.com.

Photos by Catherine Murray, www.hotokitchen.net.

Columbus scene. Photo by Catherine Murray, www.photokitchen.net.

Nick Dekker. Photo by Megan Leigh Barnard.

And if you prefer a guided resource, there’s none better than the crew at Columbus Food Adventures, which offers not only a Food Truck Tour but also a specific Taco Truck Tour, among many other options, found at columbusfoodadventures.com/tours.

Columbus offers much as an up-and-coming culinary scene, as well as a supported food truck market. Until next time, we hope you eat up, enjoy and, most importantly, come visit, as there’s nothing quite like trying these dishes and hearing the trucks’ stories firsthand. We can guarantee this outgoing group of owners, operators and chefs will kindly welcome you to the heart of it all, and you’ll never leave with an empty stomach.


Apple Fritter

Buckeye Donuts

Churro French Toast

Native Eats

Early Bird Beignet

The Early Bird Food Truck

Beast Smoothie



Apple Fritter

Courtesy of Jimmy Barouxis, Buckeye Donuts

These are especially good in the fall, when flavors of apples and cinnamon are most enjoyable.


1 packet dry yeast

3¼ cups all purpose flour

⅓ cup sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1½ cup whole milk

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

⅓ cup unsalted butter, softened

1 cup chopped apple donut jelly oil, for frying


1½ cups powdered sugar

3 to 4 tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Make the Dough

Whisk together the yeast, 3 cups of the flour, sugar, salt and cinnamon in the bowl of a stand mixer.

With a dough hook and the mixer on low speed, mix in the milk, followed by the eggs.

Continue mixing until the dough gathers into a ball around dough hook, 2 to 4

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